Apple posts position for iPad camera expert

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 16th, 2010, 03:28
Category: iPad, News

If you’re hankering for your iPad to have a built-in camera, you may not have too long to wait. Per Cult of Mac, Apple is apparently searching for a performance quality assurance engineer to work on still and video capture in the iPad Media department.

The job, posted back on February 9th is for a “Performance QA Engineer, iPad Media,” to work within Apple’s Interactive Media Group. The software quality engineer must have a strong technical background in order to test still, video and audio capture and playback frameworks.

“Build on your QA experience and knowledge of digital camera technology (still and video) to develop and maintain testing frameworks for both capture and playback pipelines,” the job description reads. “You will work together with the development team to ensure quality. Your focus will mainly be on performance testing and developing performance measurement test tools.”

The full-time position is based in Cupertino, Calif., at Apple’s corporate headquarters. It requires candidates have a bachelor of science in computer science or equivalent experience, with three or more years experience in software quality assurance.

The job listing is yet another piece of evidence that Apple has plans for a camera in future iPads. A potential spot for a forward-facing camera was found in a replacement part for the iPad soon after the device was unveiled. But later, a teardown of the iPad post-release found that spot was actually used for the device’s ambient light sensor.

The iPhone OS 3.2 SDK has also been found to include mentions of video chat, suggesting that Apple explored the possibility of a forward-facing camera in its multi-touch device.

Introduced last week, the beta of iPhone OS 4.0 also features references to iChat, including framework strings referencing “front facing” and “back facing.” Evidence of iChat sounds has also been found in the pre-release software. While it will hit the iPhone this summer, iPhone OS 4.0 is scheduled to be available for the iPad this fall.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know what you make of this from your end.

Mid-2010 MacBook Pros selling well, 13″ model becoming harder to find

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 15th, 2010, 05:41
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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The new MacBook Pro notebooks are out.

And if you can find a 13″ one, you’re in luck.

Per AppleInsider, demand for Apple’s newly upgraded line of MacBook Pro notebooks was strong on the first day, with scattered reports of the low-end 13″ model selling out in some retail locations.

Analyst Maynard Um with UBS Investment research said checks with various Apple stores indicated that the Mac maker is sold out of the new 13″ MacBook Pro model, introduced Tuesday. The Core 2 Duo-equipped machine has the Nvidia GeForce 320M, a graphics processor created especially for Apple’s new low-end MacBook Pro machine.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is available in two configurations: one with a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 250GB hard drive priced at US$1,199; and one with a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 320GB hard drive priced at US$1,499. It has graphics 80 percent faster than its predecessor, and offers an Apple-estimated 10 hours of battery life.

Customers ordering the new 13″ MacBook Pro from Apple’s online store have also reported that shipping times have lagged to between one and three business days, instead of a standard 24 hours according to MacNN. The 24-hour cap still applies to Apple’s more powerful and expensive 15- and 17-inch systems.

Um said he has also found that some stores are out of stock of iPads, supporting the announcement made earlier Wednesday by Apple, that a hardware shortage would delay the device’s international launch until late May. The analyst said this news means it is likely his estimate of 1.2 million iPads sold in the June quarter will likely prove conservative, depending on manufacturing constraints.

Review: Flick Fishing HD

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 12th, 2010, 04:38
Category: iPhone, Review, Software

Those kooky game guys from Manhattan N.Y., Freeverse, released four apps for iPad just in time for the April 3rd debut. Two apps, Warpgate and CastleCraft, are exclusively for iPad. The other two are popular iPhone/Pod touch favorites, NBA Hotshot HD and Flick Fishing HD. I got to play with Flick Fishing HD just minutes after my iPad arrived via UPS.

Flick Fishing has become a very popular angling game at the iTunes App Store. First developed for the iPhone, the game features real motion casting. The new HD edition for the iPad includes all the extras from the iPhone version including the Fishing Pro pack and a MegaGuide. Freeverse has done a nice job with the game’s graphics and music. It’s obvious Flick Fishing HD has been tailored for iPad and it looks – and sounds – spectacular

Don’t know a Plaice from a Pike? Don’t worry, Flick Fishing HD has lots of help while you fish. Tap the game’s colorful icon and you’re presented with four options on an animated background – New Game, Help & Options, Photo Album and Village Shop. Select New Game and you’ll see three game play modes: Go Fishing, Tournament (play against other fishermen locally), and Fish Net (play with others over the internet). Chose your location to fish from a map, flick the iPad and start fishing. The game prompts you to complete the task at hand while you are serenaded with Carribean-style Island music. Somebody hand me a cold beer!

The experienced fisherman can plunge right in and select a challenging location, select the desired bait from their tackle box and cast away. Actually Flick Fishing offers many challenges and you can really get into the tournaments and Fish Net gameplay modes. The MegaGuide, included free with Flick Fishing HD, goes in to the details of the Island, suggesting different bait for each variety of fish, explaining the various locations and even some cheats if you like. Since the game is continually expanded with new content you can look forward to some exciting playtime.

If I had to pick nits with Freeverse I’d ask for more variety to the music – the steel drums get boring after a while. Thankfully you can turn off the music when you tire of it. And I’d like to have a way to search the MegaGuide. As great as the graphics are on this game I found a minor flaw – a few stray pixels were wandering around at the bottom of my iPad’s screen.

Flick Fishing HD is an graphically-rich and entertaining game for the iPad. For US$2.99 you really can’t afford to pass it up.

Flick Fishing HD requires iPhone OS 3.2 or later to install and run.

Apple debuts iPhone OS 4.0 in San Francisco

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 8th, 2010, 12:22
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

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Over in San Francisco, Apple gave iPhone developers and the media a sneak preview of its upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 operating system, announcing major changes in multitasking capabilities, changes to the Mail application, and a built-in advertising system highlight the features that make up iPhone OS 4.0.

Per Macworld, developers could get their hands on a preview of the 4.0 update on Thursday although users will have to wait until at least the summer. Owners of the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch users will be able to take advantage of all the features, while second-generation iPod touch and iPhone 3G models will only support some of the update’s enhancements. iPhone OS 4.0 won’t be available for the iPad until the fall.

The iPhone OS 4.0 update will reportedly introduce 1,500 new application programming interfaces (APIs) for developers and more than 100 new user features, including playlist creation, 5x digital zoom in the camera app, tap-to-focus for video, auto photo-geotagging, and support for Bluetooth keyboards. During the preview, Apple focused on seven new aspect that it called “tentpole” features: multitasking, folders, Mail improvements, iBooks for the iPhone, enhancements for business users, a social gaming network, and iAd.

iAds, perhaps the newest thing, functions as Apple’s new advertising platform designed specifically for the iPhone OS. The architecture allows developers the functionality to build ads directly into their apps; the ads, written using the HTML5 standard, are designed to provide a rich promotional environment, complete with what are essentially mini apps-inside-the-app.

Camera for iPad allows iPad users to borrow iPhone, iPod touch cameras via Bluetooth

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 8th, 2010, 04:32
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Software

The iPad currently lacks a built-in camera.

And some of you are combining your pitchfork technology with your torch technology and planning on waving flaming pitchforks outside 1 Infinite Loop (and Steve’s office) about this.

Still, there might be a solution to this.

Headlight Software’s Camera for iPad [App Store, US$0.99] allows iPad users to take photos on their iPad using their iPhone camera. Per iLounge, users load the Camera for iPad app on both their iPhone and iPad and can then establish a Bluetooth connection between the two devices.

Once connected, users can take photos on the iPad from the iPhone camera. A live view is shown on the iPad screen and users can zoom in and out and rotate the view using standard pinch and swipe gestures. Photos are taken at the maximum resolution of the iPhone camera and automatically transferred to the iPad over Bluetooth and stored in the iPad’s Saved Photos album.

The application can also be used with a second- or third-generation iPod touch or another iPhone 3G or 3GS although the original iPhone and first-generation iPod touch are not currently supported.

Camera for iPad is a Universal app and requires iPhone OS 3.1 or later to install and run.

Review: Apple iPad Cover

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 8th, 2010, 03:30
Category: Accessory, iPad, Review

By Mike DeWalt

So, you’ve bought your iPad – or are thinking about it – and you’re starting to think about accessorizing. You have several options even at this early stage: You can pick up an extra charger, a dock, an external keyboard, a VGA adapter, a USB connector for your camera, and headphones or ear buds. All are worthy additions that some iPad owners will want.

There is however, what I’d consider a “must have” for all iPad owners … and that’s some kind of cover or case. I’ve had my iPad since Saturday morning and it came to work naked with me on Monday and Tuesday … and that wasn’t good. Without a cover it’s more prone to bumps, scratches, and drops. Also, the screen seems to collect greasy finger smudges and it’s tough to carry it around naked without getting the screen even more smudged up.

So, I was pleased that my official US$39 Apple iPad case arrived late yesterday afternoon. My initial impressions are somewhat mixed. In terms of the form factor, I’m 100% sold. This is absolutely the type of case I need. The iPad slides into the right side, it’s a snug and secure fit, the screen is uncovered and there are cutouts for all the do-dads … on/off button, dock connector, speaker, headphone jack, etc. The left side folds over the screen like a book cover. Think legal pad folio.

The material is very slightly padded, but not so much that it makes the sleek iPad bulky. The cover is mostly rigid and offers decent protection. The surface of the material is matt with a very fine texture. The cover can fold backward and clip into a flap on the back of the case to make it a nifty little stand that you can use in portrait or landscape mode.

All-in-all a very good form factor and a reasonable value for 39 bucks. So, why did I say my impressions were mixed? Three reasons:

1. The edges are a bit sharp and stiff where the seams are joined (pinched together). It would have been better if they were rounded around the edge.

2. The “stand” feature is a great idea and should work fine on dry land. However, I’m not so sure it’s stable enough to use on a train or plane table without falling over.

3. The iPad itself looks like a million bucks. It feels and looks like a very high quality product … really nice. The Apple iPad cover is a bit more “utilitarian”. It works, it looks OK, and the price is fine. In other words, iPad=Filet Mignon … iPad Case=a good hot dog.

The Bottom Line:
I’ll happily use this case … I’m glad I have it because a naked iPad is a recipe for trouble in my hands. But I’ll keep my eye out for something better down the road once the 3rd party suppliers get cranked up.

Keep your iPad cool, out of direct sunlight

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, 04:58
Category: iPad, iPhone, News

As nifty as the iPad may be, one of the largest concerns regarding the new tablet is an apparent problem with rising temperatures when operating the touch-screen tablet in direct sunlight or other hot conditions.

Per CNET, several sites around the Internet have cited the heat problem, which brings back memories of the iPhone’s heat issues, especially prevalent with the release of the iPhone 3G.

It is widely expected, however, that a firmware update will likely fix the heating issues (as it did with the iPhones). Some users, in the meantime, have resorted to refrigeration as a means of cooling their iPad. Apple suggests keeping your iPad in operating temperatures at a maximum of 95 degrees F (35 degrees C), which may be a tall order for iPad owners living in warmer climates.

For the time being (and until the first inevitable firmware update), keep an eye on your iPad usage when you’re outside. Try and stay out of direct sunlight and keep your iPad covered whenever possible. Should you get the overheated warning, move your iPad to a cooler location, wait a few minutes, and reset it. Everything should work fine.

If you’ve seen your iPad overheat or come close to it or have figured out a nifty way of keeping it cool, please let us know.

First iPad Case unboxing photos surface

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, 03:12
Category: Accessory, iPad

About 72 hours after the launch of the iPad, early adopters who pre-ordered the tablet have begun to receive the first deliveries of the iPad Case with unboxing photos beginning to surface online

The case itself, which retails for US$49, is made of a rubberized exterior and soft microfiber interior and folds tight like a hardcover book once the iPad is slipped into its snug frame and a piece of microfiber tucked underneath its left-side binding. Per AppleInsider, the unit can also act as a stand that holds iPad at an ideal angle for watching videos and slideshows or for typing on the onscreen keyboard.

Take a gander and remember that the full photo gallery can be found here:

Expect a full iPad case review in just a bit and if you’ve had a chance to play around with one on your own, please let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple may include printing support in iPhone OS 4.0, other update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, 03:34
Category: News

A recently discovered clue is hinting that Apple may add printing support to iPhone OS 4.0 or another update of the operating system. Per AppleInsider, support notes for the iPad’s iWork apps all note that “printing directly from iPad is not currently available” and imply that it will be an option at a later date. Rumors so far haven’t confirmed whether or not it would appear in Thursday’s special event, though it presents the first clear opportunity.

Pure touchscreen tablets have been rare, but most non-Windows tablets have traditionally had printing as a key weakness. Neither Android nor iPhone OS currently have built-in faculties for printing, and many also lack USB ports. Any Apple solution would most likely involve connecting either directly to a printer over Bluetooth or over a local network using Wi-Fi.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Opinion: iPad – iWork (NOT)

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, 03:55
Category: iPad, Opinion, Software

If you are planning on buying an iPad to be a portable editing device for your iWork content – think twice. The Apple Discussion boards are all aflutter with teachers and professors who hoped they could leave their laptops in the office and only take their new iPads to the lecture hall. This is not the case. Although Apple has branded the programs the same as the versions you can buy for your Mac , this is where the similarity ends. It’s like using Google Translation to convert a foreign web site into your language of choice, but worse. The two programs i was interested in were Pages and Keynote and they both corrupt files on import (once you can get them in – that’s another article). Formatting is lost in Pages so formulas and footnotes disappear in Keynote transitions and builds go away. It is not as if they are temporarily suspended while on the iPad they are gone so when and if you save back to your Mac they are no longer there.

My comment is, if you are calling it by the same name it should have the same display features. I can agree to editing and creative limitations on a mobile class device but display corruption is unacceptable. To me that’s synonymous with PDF’s looking different on different computing devices and operating systems, not what a PDF is supposed to be.

My biggest complaint is that Apple re-confiigured some of their standard fonts, and when you import a Keynote Presentation of simple Text and Paragraph builds everything is scrambled, mostly because replaced fonts don’t translate to the same font size constraints. I gave up looking for a way to reduce the font size so the text would fit on the slide and have gone back to my laptop to write this article. Now if you create on the iPad and leave it, there’s not a problem. I guess I got my hopes up, with iWork Beta working so seamlessly between cloud and desktop I figured the transition to iPad would be as painless. I was wrong!!

Look at the Samples Below and see if the change from Chalkboard to Chalkduster font would cause you sufficient grief to not make the transition.